After spending a week at an Elephant camp we decided that we would like some R&R on one of Thailand's infamous islands, and as this is in close proximity to Bangkok we thought that it would make the perfect retreat.
BEWARE! When we got to Ban Phe to catch our speed shuttle we were greeted by a man on a converted scooter who took us to a travel agent who attempted to sell us tickets over to the island for 2000THB each (£44). We remained adamant that we got a free transfer and after standing our ground the scooter driver took us to the Samed Resorts office and then tried to charge us for his services! We refused...
Our room was beautiful, but the bed creaked every time you rolled over and was rather hard, and the breakfast menu always offered a lot of choice, however we felt that it was overpriced. At over 65,000THB (£1200) for a week in a Spa Villa, we were disappointed to find that the outdoor jacuzzi was in fact a (dirty) indoor bath made of mosaics. Nevertheless, the room was modern and the pool was kept clean.
As for eating out, we avoided the on-site "O" Restaurant, as for 2 non-alcoholic drinks and main meals (we picked the cheapest on the menu) it cost 1100THB (£25) and they didn't even bring change! The Buzz Restaurant offers much more value at an affordable price, does cocktails at 125THB between 16:30 and 19:00 and is absolutely exquisite. We would normally spend 1500THB (£33) a night and get 2 alcoholic drinks each, 2 mains and a starter or a desert.
We had hoped to go over to Koh Man Nai (Turtle Island) whilst there, but found that the resort (Samed Resort and Le Vimarn are owned by the same company) was only willing to offer trips to groups and after expressing an interest in going at the beginning of our stay they were unable, or unwilling, to organise a trip with other holiday makers for the end of the week - perhaps they were hoping we would pay for the private trip and spend 15000THB (£333).
The cheapest massage at the spa was 1500THB (£33), therefore we went to Samed Resort for a 400THB (£8) Thai massage, but it was done on the beach front and so perhaps the experience wasn't quite what it would have been had we gone to the Divarin Spa.
On the plus side the beach is usually very quiet, but be careful as bad weather can bring jellyfish to the shore, and is also kept quite clean. There's no coral reef around Ao Prao and to get decent snorkelling you would have to take a boat trip.
With regards to getting out and about, the scooter hire company outside the resort will charge 500THB (£11) for a days hire, whereas it is 300THB (£6) further inland and so it may be wise to barter and there isn't a massive amount to see. Sai Kaew has beautiful white sand and Ao Thian has a rugged beauty about it.
Overall, we wished that we had gone over for 3 or maybe 4 nights and then travelled on towards Koh Samui, or even flown to Phuket. But if you're looking to get away from it all and enjoy nothing more than a beach holiday, then this island is perfect for you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Le Vimarn Cottages & Spa is a unique tropical Boutique Resort for an idyllic stay that will call you back again and again. Clustered on the gentle slope of a hilly cove overlooking a quiet bay beach is your stylish retreat from the world. Supremely comfortable individual cottages all with balconies, some with your own outdoor spa that look down onto a peaceful curved bay of sparkling sea and fine sand. The cottage cluster centers around a superb infinity pool, a world class spa and a restaurant offering a most interesting and comprehensive menu.Le Vimarn attracts sophisticated and discriminating international guests year after year. A dream location that will last in your memory for a lifetime ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Le Vimarn Cottages And Spa
- Le Vimarn Cottages Hotel Koh Samet
- Le Vimarn Hotel
- Le Vimarn Resort